With the NFL’s post-season in full swing, fans are rooting for their hometown favorites as America’s largest annual televised event, the Super Bowl, draws ever closer. It’s also a time to reflect on all the good, charitable works done by both current and former NFL players, and not just the quarterbacks and running backs who make headlines.
Steve Gleason was a special teams player on the New Orleans Saints for some eight years, and after his retirement he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The diagnosis encouraged him to start a charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for ALS research, and a recent raffle saw Gleason put up a family heirloom for auction; a 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe, painted in the same Saints livery Gleason once wore on his jersey.
The ‘65 Mustang coupe once belonged to Gleason’s grandfather, who passed the car onto his grandson some years ago. It was in pieces in storage, and the family decided to get it restored as a way to raise funds. The car was sent to Gus Johnson Ford for the work. Few details were available about the work performed, but from the photos it appears the received a fresh 289 or 302 mill, as well as new paint, and updates to the interior.
Gleason was first drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2000, but was released to the New Orleans Saints during the pre-season. He spent eight seasons total with the Saints, and helped make one of the team’s biggest plays ever, including a blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown for the Saints in their first home game since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Superdome.
Unfortunately, Gleason’s grandfather wasn’t around to see his Mustang get the Saints treatment or get auctioned off for charity, but Gleason’s mother is sure he’d be happy to see the car go for a good cause. Despite raffle tickets costing just $10 each, the Mustang managed to raise over $75,000 for the Gleason Initiative Fund and ALS awareness and research when it was raffled off to winner on December 29th. Not bad for an almost 50-year old family heirloom. For more information on Team Gleason, check out their Facebook page.